Braintree 1st XI v Lakenheath

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Chris Hinks 3-40
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Nofal Raja 59*
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Geoff Eveling 3-39
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Matt Renvoize 54

Braintree’s First Eleven got back to winning ways by courtesy of a convincing six victory over bottom of the table Lakenheath.

For the first time in weeks, skipper Chris Leech lost the toss and his counterpart unsurprisingly elected to bat first on a St Peter’s Road wicket that as usual looked as though it would ooze runs. Young Adam Westall retained his place in the Dolphin’s team after his previous week’s good batting display and a debut was given to Nofal Raja who has recently moved to the area.

The visitors got off to an excellent start, as openers Oakley Colby and Paul Pallent soon found that with the outfield being lighting fast any shots beating the fielders would race to the boundary. The pair put on 73 runs for the first wicket inside 12 overs before Pallent, having scored 32, was trapped LBW by Geoff Eveling. Colby was soon on his way back to the pavilion too, he had made 41 when he was bamboozled by Eveling and found himself clean bowled.

Frank Gammon (1) didn’t last long at the crease as he offered a catch to Luke Gouldstone off the bowling of Joel Ainsley and Adam Horrox (5) became Eveling’s third victim when Matt Renvoize took a straightforward catch behind the stumps. Lakenheath were now finding that the spin partnership of Chris Hinks and Eveling were difficult to score runs off and their innings now crawled along. In an attempt to speed things up Rory Palmer slogged Eveling for a six and then tried to do the same to Hinks however this time he was only successful in finding the safe hands of Gouldstone.

Three excellent pieces of fielding from Gouldstone, Leech and Ainsley resulted in three Run Outs in the space of four overs. Shane Leech had occupied the crease for 20 overs, scoring 37 when his namesake hit the stumps with a direct hit from 25 yards. However, Mark Milner and Craig Thaxton had only scored 2 each as they found themselves well short of their ground when their stumps were broken.

Hinks, as is often the case cleaned up the tail when he had Andy Leech (12) caught by the dependable Gouldstone and then had Keith Starr (0) caught by Macauley Waight. Lakenheath found themselves all out for 182, with Eveling taking 3 wickets for 39 runs and Hinks 3 for 40.

In reply, Chris Leech and Matt Renvoize got Braintree off to a steady start putting on 41 runs in the opening 10 overs. Unfortunately, having scored 15, Leech failed to fully connect a delivery from Starr and picked out Gammon at long on. 

Renvoize certainly enjoys playing at home as he produced a vast array of shots and ensured that any loose deliveries were stroked to the ropes. He brought up his half century with a towering six, however he had only added a further boundary when he was beaten by the spin of Colby and Thaxton whipped off his bails. Braintree then found themselves three wickets down as Hinks gave Gammon an easy catch without scoring a run.

Geoff Eveling was joined at the crease by debutant Nofal Raja and the pair rotated the strike as Lakenheath’s field placement allowed them to take singles whenever they wanted. Raja was looking a class act, using his feet to give himself room to push the ball into the off side and also flicking deliveries off his pads at ease, he will be a useful addition to the Dolphin’s team. The newcomer also showed he could he strike the ball well too as twice he despatched Colby out of the ground. 

Unfortunately, just when Eveling was in sight of his half century he was harshly adjudged LBW. Geoff is certainly enjoying batting up the order as he is now finding runs much easier to score. Raja decided it was time to finish the game quickly as he despatched consecutive deliveries from Leech for a six and a four, then needing just a single for victory he deemed it was time to hit the biggest six of the day, he finished on 59 not out.